Get Your Game On

Five outings that will keep you guessing

Denbies Wine Estate (Dorking) — England's largest vineyard located just outside in the Surrey Hills offers 'public' events and themed evenings. Participating in a murder mystery dinner has been on my bucket list for some time and Denbies cleverly orchestrated Murder at Lovelace Manor was a perfect introduction. After witnessing the ‘murder’, we were divided into teams and given a suitcase of clues. The suspects presented their stories before each course and we were free to interview them through the course of the evening. Each team came to a consensus on the murderer and the winning team was selected and presented with a bottle of bubbly.
www.denbies.co.uk +44 1306 876616
London Road, Dorking, Surrey RH5 6AA

Geocaching (Multiple) — Number 49 out of 50 on National Trust's 'Things to do before your 11-3/4' is Geocaching. Before smartphones, you had to rely on a physical somewhat clunky GPS, but now all you need is to download an app and you are ready to go. Basically, you follow coordinates and clues to find a hidden box known as 'caches'. Inside you'll find a log book and potentially trinkets left by others before you. Apparently, Geocaching is even popular among celebrities with Anthony Bourdain, Melissa Joan Hart and Hugh Jackman all playing along.
www.geocaching.com

Hint Hunt (London) — Take an hour of your life and try out this fun escape game. You and two to four of your friends get locked in a room with the task of solving a puzzle by finding codes, clues and hidden items as a 60-second timer winds down. This experience is completely original and worth booking. They also have Cape Town and Paris locations in case you happen to be in these cities.
www.hinthunt.co.uk+44 2036 893188
72-76 Eversholt Street, London NW11BY

Liar Liar (London) — Whether you are a local or tourist, this tour is entertaining and fun. You are divided into teams and at each stop the guide tells three stories - two true and one false. The goal is to pick out the false one to earn a point. Our stops included where Harry Potter scene was filmed, where Lord Mayor of London lives and where Roman Gladiators fought. The guides also lead a host of other entertaining and historical tours in London.
www.funlondontours.com+44 7956 601697

Moriarty’s Game (Multiple) — This unguided tour is a mix between Hint Hunt and Liar Liar. You are sent clues via text prepared by Professor James Moriarty of Sherlock Holmes. Once sending the correct answer you are sent the next clue. At first it feels strange to be discreet in public places and in other locations announce 'we're here for the game'. Ten minutes are added to your time for incorrect answers and requesting hints. Since the competition is based on time, you can stop the clock for food and drink breaks even when competing against other teams. If once is not enough, they offer seven other similar clued-ridden tours in London.
www.inthehiddencity.com+44 2071 128951

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Pub Crawl

Best pubs in Twickenham within walking distance of each other

Having lived where driving was a requirement, it is refreshing to be here where walking is the norm. As part of a friend's leaving celebration, we were invited to join them on a pub crawl in Twickenham. We started at 6:30 pm and had 30-minute stops at the following:

  • The Crown
  • White Swan
  • Barmy Arms
  • Eel Pie
  • The Fox
For a bit of fun, as a group we rated each pub for decor / setting, service and of course drinks. We took a break for an Italian dinner at 9 pm at Masaniello. Our night ended singing along to a live band playing 'Born in the USA'. Doesn't get more English than that!

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Best Summer Days Out

It is not always easy finding something that everyone will enjoy. 
 These three outings pass the test:

Fossil Hunting (Charmouth)

Charmouth is part of a 185-million year old 95-mile stretch called the Jurassic Coast, Britain's first natural World Heritage Site. We started with an introductory talk by a paleontologist at the Charmouth Heritage Coast Centre. He and his team then headed out with us to assist us in finding and identifying fossils, as well as cracking open the rocks that contained them. While our outing was only scheduled for two hours, we were allowed to carry-on* until the tide came in. You are free to take home any fossils you find as long as you can carry them away.
www.charmouth.org +44 1297 560772
Lower Sea Lane, Charmouth, Dorset DT6 6LL


Garsons (Esher)

Garsons used to supply produce to London’s Borough Market. Today, it is home to UK’s largest ‘Pick Your Own Farm’ and sells a broad range of fruits and produce. They also have an award-winning Farm Shop and Garden Centre with an enormous gift and retail area, a play area and cafĂ©. If you live in the area, sign-up for the Garsons Kitchen Garden Card and receive 10% off Pick Your Own produce (Monday to Friday). Our favorite crop is their plums that arrive in August — you can see the juice oozing from the tops of the plums when they are ripe.

www.garsons.co.uk +44 1372 460181
Winterdown Road, West End, Esher KT10 8LS


West Wittering Beach (West Wittering)

Despite a coast boasting nearly a thousand beaches, finding ones with amenities (and not too commercial), good sand and not too far away can be challenging. This Blue Flag beach is our favorite so far with its blue waters and white sand. To avoid sand in your food and a bit of a break from the wind, the grass parking area doubles as a picnic and play area. This is the first time I saw tailgating at the beach and people with lidded cups of hot tea.
www.westwitteringbeach.co.uk +44 1243 514143
West Wittering, Chichester, West Sussex PO20 8AJ


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Afternoon Tea Week

Similar to KidsWeek, Afternoon Tea Week (August 8-14)
now extends beyond a week to the entire month.

Some of my favorite restaurants and venues in London are offering 25% off their Afternoon Teas in August.

  • Ethos
  • Fortnum & Mason
  • Hotel Cafe Royal
  • Muriel's Kitchen
  • Radio Rooftop
  • Royal Horseguards Hotel
  • Skylon
  • The Royal Albert Hall
These along with over 100 other venues across the UK can be booked at www.AfternoonTea.co.uk.

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Seven stops along Southbank

Skip the Underground and walk along Southbank

I still get excited arriving to London via Surrey on Southwest Trains. Within minutes of leaving Waterloo Station by foot, I am at Southbank. When the weather is nice and I have left myself enough time, walking along the bank of the Thames towards Tower Bridge is one of my favorite things to do. Seven stops along the way:

Real Food Festival Open every Friday to Sunday, the Market has over 40 small producers and independent traders providing fresh, quality food at affordable prices. What’s great about this is that no pre-booking is required, queues go quickly and everyone gets to pick what they like to eat. The Market recently celebrated its one-year anniversary and imagine it will remain for years to come.
www.realfoodfestival.co.uk
Belvedere Rd, London SE1 8XX

Skylon Located in Royal Festival Hall, the decor maintains its 50s history vibe having served as the ‘People’s Palace’ during the 1951 Festival of Britain. Renamed ‘Skylon’ after the iconic structure from that time, the restaurant features 6 meter high floor to ceiling windows facing the Thames. With tables for two close to the window and ones for four a bit further back, it is a perfect place for a pre-theatre* drink or night cap before heading home.
www.skylon-restaurant.co.uk+44 2076 5478000
Royal Festival Hall, London SE1 8XX

Upper Level There is a water structure between Royal Festival Hall and Queen Elizabeth Hall for the kids and kids-at-heart (this is really great on the occasional hot summer London day).

Lower Level There is an iconic skate park and a shaded sandbox, both along the Thames River. And often, there are themed festivals and varied food trucks and stalls to keep everyone happy and entertained.

National Theatre This is one of my favorite theatre* complexes and now ranks as one of the top theatres in the world. One of the founding principles is to exhibit excellent theatre. Unlike West End theatres that can have one show running for years, National Theatre features 20 new plays a year. With three theatres under one roof, it is possible to see several shows in one week.
www.nationaltheatre.org.uk+44 2074 523000
Upper Ground, South Bank, London SE1 9PX

OXO Tower The Not Afternoon Tea has a great view overlooking Thames with a good selection of creative desserts accompanied by cocktails. Enough said.
www.oxotower.co.uk+44 2078 033888
Barge House Street, London SE1 9PH

Tate Modern It is hard to imagine what will fill the newly opened 10-story extension of the Tate Modern. The gallery space of the New Wing is the first of its kind dedicated to film, installations and live art. The Level 10 roof terrace boasts 360-degree views of the London skyline including, the river Thames and St. Paul’s Cathedral.
www.www.tate.org.uk+44 2078 878888
Bankside, London SE1 9TG, England

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